Building a Better Plant
Years of work, or lucky accident, the discovery of an exciting new or improved variety is every plant breeder and gardener's dream; but once you've found it, then what? For many top breeders, the answer is to contact Proven Winners.
Finding or developing new plants is difficult enough, but negotiating legal issues, dealing with marketing and meeting production requirements is more than most individuals want to deal with. For this reason Proven Winners is the perfect partner to help you bring your plant to a global market.
Proven Winners works with their plant breeders to explain the risks, and can help to manage the costs of patenting your discovery. Proven Winners also provides the infrastructure to help you succeed. Virus screening, tissue-culture facilities, comparative trialing, the highest quality production facilities and an international marketing network including the US, continental Europe, Japan, South Africa and Australia are all part of the Proven Winners package.
Proven Winners is an international plant marketing firm with offices in the US, Europe, Japan, South Africa and Australia. The company works with over 70 different plant breeders and plant breeding firms. Proven Winners is a retail brand in the US and Canada and sells millions of young plants around the globe while paying royalties for patented plant material to the breeders we work with. We have the most recognized retail brand in the business and are known for having only the highest quality genetics. Let us help you succeed by using our network of experts in genetics, production and marketing of ornamental plants.
So when you find what you've been searching for, call the people who will help turn your great achievement into major royalties. For information about Proven Winners plant criteria or to discuss your work, contact our experts.
How does Proven Winners get patentable plants?
There are many types of plant breeding and selection that generate patentable new crops. These may come from a hobbyist gardener working in their back yard or an established corporate plant breeding program, but may also be generated by a random chance discovery, spontaneous changes in plant appearance (sometimes called sports”), and chemical, x-ray, or gamma ray mutation. Anything that is arguably different from other plants of the same genus and species is patentable. In some cases that may take some time to prove, so plan on the extra time to make sure you have a valid patent.
Patenting and Plant Royalties
A plant patent states that the genetics of your plant, or hybrid are unique and can be protected under US law for 20 years. All plants accepted as Proven Winners must be patentable in the United States; Proven Winners can manage the patent process for the breeder. Separate patents may be needed for Canada, Europe, and Japan if the plant will be marketed outside the US. Usually a plant patent is applied for after the plant has been proven to be a step forward in genetics, few people or companies will patent a plant until it has shown itself to be of value. For Proven Winners, this means after the trialing period is over and a plant has met our high standards. Patent costs are usually paid back through the royalty stream the crop generates, so the breeder has no out of pocket expenses.
Why does Proven Winners patent all their plants?
Proven Winners patents all their plants and sets up exclusive arrangements for their promotion and sale with the breeder because it means higher rewards to the breeder, quality control of production, the best retail marketing in the business, and most importantly control of propagation so that the plant cannot be stolen or propagated illegally. By patenting and exclusive rights Proven Winners can provide our breeders with the best protection, and the highest return.
Trade marking has to do with marketing a given plant under a "trade name" and unlike a patent it offers no direct protection for new varieties, but assists in marketing efforts. Plants released as Proven Winners are trademarked by Proven Winners while the patent always remains in the breeder’s name. Often trade names have no connection with patent names and are designed to drive sales not be descriptive of the plant’s origins.
A Trial Agreement is a legal document to protect the plant breeder during the crop development process. It basically states that your plant is in the custody of the company evaluating it. This plant and any sports that result from it remain your property for the period of the trial. It should include something about the fate of the plant after trialing; when the trial ends your plants should be introduced to the market, returned to you, or destroyed; in this way protecting you and your investment. With trial agreements there is usually no exchange of money, only an agreement to protect and evaluate a new plant.
A royalty is a fee charged at sale for each patented plant sold. Usually it a few cents per plant and this money goes to the plant breeder, as well as funding marketing efforts that help sell more of your plant by providing advertising of the plant and ideas on how to use the plant to its best advantage. The more plants sold the higher the annual royalty check to the breeder will be, so it is important to have not only the best genetics, but also a strong marketing and promotional program to insure the success of a plant’s introduction. As an example; if 50,000 plants are sold and there is a $0.02 cent royalty on each plant the total royalty earned is $1,000. Royalties are negotiable, but a lot depends on the plant and the size market it may have upon introduction. For instance with over 700 cultivars of geraniums on the market a new geranium will be competing for sales more than a unique plant with little competition. On the flip side well known garden plants like geraniums tend to sell more units because consumers are familiar with them where a new crop may sell less initially until people become familiar with the plant.
Many other countries do not offer patent protection such as China and SE Asia where illegal propagation of many patented hybrids is currently standard operating procedure. If your plant is taken to one of these countries you have no legal recourse against illegal propagation unless you have a binding trial agreement in place prior to plant shipment and a partner like Proven Winners working with you.
A patent is only as good as the company representing you; in order for a plant patent to be protected you need an enforcer, without an enforcer you may find it very hard to protect your rights. Proven Winners is respected worldwide for policing their patents and stopping illegal propagation.